Local Transit Union Pres. opposes Gov. ODonnell’s threat to withhold Metro funds

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  • 1. For Immediate Release Contact: Ryan Duncan June 23, 2010 (202) 833-9771, Office (202) 617-1358, Mobile Local Transit Union President Urges Gov. McDonnell to Release Virginia’s Matching Funds for Metro Jackie Jeter says $50 million needed to collect federal grant and improve safety In a letter to Virginia Governor Robert McDonnell dated June 22, ATU Local 689 President Jackie L. Jeter called on the Commonwealth’s top official to drop his threat to withhold funding from Metro. Following is an excerpt from Jeter’s missive: While I share your concerns about safety and accountability at the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority (WMATA), I respectfully disagree with your stance that withholding Virginia’s pledged $50 million in matching funds for a $150 million federal grant will improve either. The grant is specifically slated to make improvements in WMATA safety, including replacement of the 1000 series railcars. Today is the anniversary of the worst accident in WMATA history that claimed the lives of nine people, including train operator Jeanice McMillan, and injured 76 others. In addition, a number of workers that our union represents have been killed in recent years on the job, including Matthew Brooks, Leslie Cherry, Keith Dodson, Jeffrey Garrard, Jong Lee, John Moore, Michael Nash, Sung Oh and Michael Waldron. I do not believe their memory will be served by holding safety improvements hostage as has been alleged in the press. I also want to disagree with the assertion by Secretary of Transportation Sean Connaughton that adding “one Principal Director and one Alternate Director [selected by Virginia Department of Rail and Transportation] will give the Commonwealth greater accountability for its financial contributions and safety oversight responsibilities…” A complete copy of the letter from Pres. Jeter to Gov. McDonnell is attached. ###